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Articles by Newsletter Reporter Joseph Winters

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Punta del Este, the Uruguayan resort town where delegates met to begin discussing a global plastics treaty.

Last March, environmental advocates celebrated a landmark victory when United Nations negotiators agreed to write a binding global treaty on plastic pollution. As the meeting concluded, diplomats emotionally declared that multilateralism is “still alive,” and called the intergovernmental environmental deal the most significant since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The treaty couldn’t be more urgent, as the production of plastic — made primarily from fossil fuels — is expected to soar over the coming decades, adding millions of tons of waste to the oceans and greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. 

Now comes the hard part: hammering out the details of the treaty. Representatives from 135 countries spent last week in Punta del Este, Uruguay, at the first of five sessions of an “intergovernmental negotiating committee,” or INC, that is expected to produce a final treaty by the end of 2024. 

If last week’s negotiations are any indication, reaching that end goal will be an arduous, divisive process, with some countries pursuing a comprehensive agreement to pha... Read more

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